Like all responsible parents, Sharon and Scott Yale were thinking carefully about when to talk with their children about the facts of life. As committed followers of Christ, the Yales especially desired to impart Biblical values to their kids regarding marriage and human sexuality. With their children growing from late childhood to pre-adolescence, the time to talk about such things was fast approaching.
But when their middle-school-aged son came home with a booklet explaining 12 ways to use a condom, they knew that public education had beaten them to the punch. “My husband and I couldn’t believe how explicit and objectionable the curriculum was,” Sharon says. “And presented without first notifying parents, no less.”
The Yales are one of countless couples who have discovered their kids being taught content that conflicts with their family’s morals and values. “In addition to filling our child’s mind with content that we found objectionable, as parents we felt like … a ‘moment’ was stolen from us,” Sharon says. “My husband and I were going to train our children about these matters on our timetable. A progressive, relativistic sex-ed curriculum (which they later learned was funded in large part by Planned Parenthood) took that away.”
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But this Christian, civic-minded mom was not afraid to make her voice heard. Sharon and other moms attended the local school board meeting in their western North Carolina town and voiced their concerns about the explicit curriculum.
Members of the school board, however, did not share their concern. “I just felt like we weren’t being heard,” Sharon says. “This explicit curriculum was not good for our kids, and approved curriculums that promoted an alternative message—sexual abstinence—were being ignored.”
The board’s response to the request for a curriculum change? “No.”
But Sharon Yale isn’t easily discouraged. She persuaded parents, members of the community and local media to all join her at the next meeting of the school board—along with the pastors of the churches where board members attended. It was a defining moment. Continuing to defend an inappropriate sex-ed curriculum before the watchful gaze of their pastors was something board members could no longer do.
“They went into session, threw out the curriculum and implemented the pro-abstinence curriculum that was best for the kids,” Sharon says. “Some said that we moms played hard ball. But as a Christian, a parent and a citizen, I had to get involved.”
The Call to Engage
More and more people are calling for the church to somehow reclaim its place at the helm of societal change. My friend Del Tackett (leader of The Truth Project, a popular DVD-based curriculum that introduced millions to apologetics and worldview training for the first time) often says, “Look: In any direction, and in every realm of life, God has spoken.”
Tackett asserts that God’s revelation touches on the complete spectrum of life. In all 360 degrees, in every sphere, a God-honoring and Scripturally informed philosophy may be found. Recognizing God’s purposes for all realms of life is called a Biblical worldview.
In past eras, Christians were eager to follow their Biblically informed convictions, take courageous stands for righteousness, get involved and ultimately to wield significant influence. God’s people were the leaders in culture and society, making a difference in many different areas, including science, the fine arts, literature, education, politics and more. This is what was intended by the Biblical injunction to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16).
Current Christian thinkers such as Ravi Zacharias, Nancy Pearcey, Norman Geisler, Janet Parshall, James Dobson and Eric Metaxas, to name but a few, believe that the societal ills of today can be traced to nearly a century of the Western church’s failure to teach and defend the Biblical worldview. Past cultural leaders—such as Francis Schaeffer (philosophy), Charles Colson (politics), Jerry Falwell (education), C.S. Lewis (literature), Carl F.H. Henry (theologian) and Phyllis Schlafly (defender of life)—would certainly concur.
All of these leaders recognized that the church must give every generation the never-ending, unalterable truths of God’s Word. It may not be the assignment that we pilgrims would request for ourselves, but it is the assignment we are given.
An Ethic of Citizenship
In obedience to Christ’s Great Commission, and in a quest to preserve our Constitution and freedoms for future generations, it is imperative that Christians embrace an ethic of citizenship. Translation: “Get involved!” Here are several things to keep in mind:
Christians are called to be salt and light in the world. We must engage others with Gospel truth.
Your efforts matter. That letter to the editor, the respectful feedback you give a merchant, the phone call to an elected official—these all carry more weight than you may imagine.
Remember that societal change—good or bad—comes about incrementally. Be patient and stay faithful. The cataclysmic “tipping points,” such as Supreme Court decisions, are virtually always preceded by years of efforts invested by ones who believed in their cause.
Throughout history, the church has been at her best when under pressure. The times in which we live mandate that followers of Christ unify. Jesus prayed for this (John 17:21).
Stay encouraged. The problems of our times appear daunting, and powerful cultural voices are squarely opposed to the Gospel. But Christians have the Holy Spirit, prayer and the truth of God’s Word. It’s not even a fair fight! God’s church is on the winning side!
Your service for Christ today will lead to exciting new assignments from the Lord tomorrow. Sharon Yale knows this firsthand: This mom who once made appeals before the school board now sits as a member on the school board. She, like us, can move forward confidently in the promise of 1 Corinthians 15:58, that our labor in the Lord is not in vain. ©2017 Alex McFarland
Alex McFarland is director of the Center for Apologetics and Christian Worldview at North Greenville University in Greenville, South Carolina. His website is: alexmcfarland.com.